More woes for 737 MAX program as GECAS cancels order for 69 of the jets

©GECAS

GECAS, the aircraft leasing arm of General Electric Co, has canceled an order for 69 of the Boeing 737 MAX jets that has remained grounded since March 2019, citing a desire to evaluate its order book during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, GECAS maintains 29 737 MAX jets and still has a further 82 of the jets on order. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has had a massive impact on air travel and many carriers are now deferring deliveries of planes until such time as the demand for air travel returns. Referring to developments last Friday, April 17, Greg Conlon, chief executive officer of GECAS, said in a statement: “Today’s agreement will help GECAS better align our available fleet with the needs of our global customer base.”

According to Reuters news agency, Boeing said on Friday it had “come to an agreement with GECAS to restructure their MAX order book.” Referring to the respiratory disease caused by the virus, Boeing also said: “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this adjustment helps to balance supply and demand with market realities, especially in the leasing channel,” adding that “Disciplined adjustments provide us with greater flexibility to manage the 4,000 outstanding 737 orders and protect the value of the MAX in the marketplace.”

Having confirmed that two updates for the flight control computer on the 737 MAX will be made this month to address a couple of new issues, Boeing hopes that a key certification test flight will take place next month. In the meantime, with the announcement that commercial plane production will resume in Washington state this week, shares in Boeing rose 12 per cent.

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